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Situated on the small island in the Gulf of Mannar, Rameswaram is the major holy destination not only for Hindus but for other communities as well. This town has a number of temples, devotional places, mosques and churches in major areas of the city. During the first quarter of the 16th century, the Portuguese people settled in the island and started to spread Christianity. Later, the Christianity in Rameswaram was spread by Father Antony Criminolee in 1546 A.D. It is important to know that the churches in Rameswaram played a great part in the development of Christianity.
St. James Church – Roman Catholic church
Popularly known as Santhiya Rayapper Kovil, St. James Church is one of the popular churches situated at Verkadu near Thangachimadam. It is believed that this church was the first church established in the Island. In early period, the church holds a small shed in which devotees will assemble and conduct prayer meetings. With the support of the Portuguese, the church was constructed in 1644 A.D. After then, Father. Segreton looked over the renovation work of the church building. Few records reveal that St. James Church was totally demolished on 16th July 1933 and established after 7 years on the same location. St. James Church is worshipped by people of all religions such as Hindus, Muslims and Christians. In order to create equality, the church holds a Christian symbol, Hindu symbol (tower) and Islam symbol (crescent). This church mainly speaks about the unity of various religions in Rameswaram.
St. Theresa of Infant Jesus
Established in 1930, St.Theresa of Infant Jesus Church took great initiatives to spread Christianity in Rameswaram Island. The efforts of Fr. Boddelle and Nuns of Holy Cross Organization have enabled the church to become a centre for social service. Further, the organization was actively involved to develop Medical dispensary, School for Girls, Orphanage centre and much more. St. Theresa Infant Jesus Church was made as the headquarters of Thangachimadam parish. Renovation work of this demolished church started on 25th July of 2002 and it was reopened on 15th February of 2004. The inauguration of the church was made by Bishop of Sivagangai named S. Edward Frances.
St Joseph’s Church
The history of this church can be traced back to second quarter of 16th century A.D. After several years, Portuguese have reconstructed this church. In 1977, the renovation work started and completed on 2nd February. The church authorities declared the new church to be the headquarters for Rameswaram Parish in 1987. St. Joseph’s Church is exactly located on the way of Therkkuvadi from Pamban.
Soosaiyapper (St.Joseph) Church
Situated on north coast of Thangachimadam, Soosaiyapper Church was dedicated to St. Joseph. In Tamil, the name of St. Joseph is called Soosaiyapper. The surrounding area of the church is known as Soosaiyapper Pattinam. Soosaiyapper church was initially constructed in 1962 and later renovated on 1992. Further, the churches in Rameswaram depict the story of people, culture, tradition and festivals of the ancient period.